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American Pie

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Recently, Your Own Personal Genius celebrated a birthday. I'm 51 now, though I read on a 56-year-old level. I commemorated the event that way I do every year, with a pizza the size and thickness of a braided area rug and a goodly portion of Samuel Adams's Octoberfest beer. Usually, I make my own pizza at the GeniusDome. I've been tinkering with my recipe for nearly half my life, trying to find just the right combination to make my ideal ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Moses Boyd: Displaced Diaspora

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The pre-release anticipation surrounding drummer and producer Moses Boyd's Displaced Diaspora was a sure sign that the cultural revolution that has reset London's jazz world over the last three years has bedded itself firmly into the architecture. Not because the album is a newly recorded set--but because it is not. The disc is a selection of tracks Boyd played on and produced during 2015. When an audience can be as excited as Boyd's is, at the time of writing in ...

LIVE REVIEWS

International Jazz Festival Musica Sulle Bocche 2018

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Musica Sulle Bocche Diverse locations inside and sites outside town Santa Teresa Gallura, Sardinia, Italy August 23-26, 2018 Music gravitates toward special sites and special sites attract suitable music. It is a core value of Musica Sulle Bocche festival in Santa Teresa Gallura, a town at the northernmost tip in the western part of the island Sardinia at the Strait of Bonifacio, Bocche di Bonifacio, with opposite the island Corsica on sight. The island ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Bailey: In Real Time

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John Bailey is a veteran New York-based trumpet player who has worked as a sideman in a variety of genres. Now, at the age of 52, he has released his first CD as a leader and it's as stylish and professional as would be expected. Bailey's playing is full of passion and fire, and he brings that energy to several musical styles. “Blues for Ella" is a hard bop blues, notable for the trumpeter's slashing howls, Stacy Dillard's ...

RADIO

Ornette@50, Bird vs. Hays & more

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We have a lot of ground to cover this week. After our starting half-hour of 21st century music, we have a compare/contrast of Charlie Parker versus a Kevin Hays deconstruction of “Scrapple from the Apple." The day of broadcast on WHYR was Art Tatum's birthday; so we have a rare recording of an airshot from WTAM radio in Cleveland, when Art was 24 years old. We continue our Sonny Rollins celebration with a sideman gig for J.J. Johnson ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Walking Distance feat. Jason Moran: Freebird

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New York-based Walking Distance garners the benefits of upper echelon pianist Jason Moran appearing on select tracks. The ensemble sparks memories of older, Charlie Parker-inspired ensembles like Supersax, featuring saxophonists Warne Marsh, Med Flory and many others. But this young band doesn't mimic or perform hard bop with a strict allegiance to the infancy of this idiom, as they propel matters into a futuristic game plan on this rousing set. Invigorating compositions and a few unorthodox methodologies ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Shai Maestro: The Dream Thief

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Having built a considerable reputation with fellow Israeli, bassist Avishai Cohen, on his fully realized, fulfilling ECM debut, The Dream Thief, pianist Shai Maestro readily creates a searching lyrical atmosphere, a unique blend of chamber improvisation, emotional eloquence, and communal virtuosity that serves the music and its grand moment of creation. Maestro sets off with a delicate, spontaneous solo reading of the evocatively haunting “My Second Childhood," by popular Israeli composer (and Maestro's teacher) Matti Capsi. Built on ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Exodos: Heuristics

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The Leo Records website narrative states that this new ensemble distances itself from the clichés associated with European improvised music as the program does not adhere to a particular vision or overarching concept. Indeed, it's music without borders by musicians who possess wide-ranging and distinct resumes, including revered American drummer Gerry Hemingway who imparts his signature flair and improvisational prowess into the mix. Bassist Luca Sisera and Hemingway are superb when formulating these cadences via the soloists' unconventional ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Hong Kong International Jazz Festival 2018

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Hong Kong International Jazz Festival Hong Kong City Hall Theatre; Hong Kong Cultural Centre October 7-13, 2018 “There are so many beautiful players in the world... and so few listeners," announced Jerry Bergonzi somberly from the stage, to a smatter of chuckles. That punchline might be flipped on its head in Hong Kong, where there is no shortage of upmarket bars in the Central district programing at least some semblance of “jazz," but just ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe Locke: Subtle Disguise

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Have we been dealing with two different Joe Lockes for all these years? To some, the vibraphonist presents as a technically adept and intellectually curious seeker, constantly pushing through to new levels of possibility and commitment with his music. But for others, Locke is a conduit to understanding the human condition. This is a dichotomy that obviously speaks to vantage points and perspectives, with neither understanding ringing false. And while the existence of said split isn't at all surprising when ...